Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Night Movie Review: Cronos

Now that we’re doing our own individual Friday reviews, I’m going to try and be a little more thorough than I have been before. This could either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much you like to hear me talk. Apparently, I think it’s great because I never can shut the hell up.

Anyway, movie…Today I thought I’d get into some “culture” and do a review of a Criterion release Blu-Ray I picked up recently. For anyone who doesn’t know, Criterion is all about making “important films” available. They put a lot of effort into preserving the quality of the appearance and the quality of the content of movies, and their catalog is really pretty amazing in both its depth and sheer amount of awesome. They also tend to be pricier than most releases. Needless to say, when Barnes and Noble started running all their Criterion DVD and Blu-Rays at half off, it was bad for my bank account.

More after the jump...

And so, finally, it’s time to get into the review itself. With tons of simply classic films under their belts, by a bunch of amazing directors…I decided to go with a vampire movie.

But it’s not just any old vampire movie. Cronos was directed by the one and only Guillermo del Toro back in 1993. It was the very first movie he directed, having done a little TV work and a couple short films before that…it also very definitely sets the tone for what was destined to be a super-creepy and awesome career. The film centers on Jesus Gris, who runs an antique shop and one day runs across a strange golden device. While trying to figure out more about it, he’s injured, and then things start to happen. Enter Ron freaking Perlman! Yes, Hellboy himself, though almost 20 years younger than he is today. This was his first movie with del Toro, which led to them working together on Blade II, Hellboy, and Hellboy II…he’s also pretty much the only English-speaking member of the cast. That’s right, this movie is mostly in Spanish with subtitles. You’re going to have to read. But it’s totally worth it. You see, Angel de la Guardia (Perlman) has been sent by his uncle in search of the very device that Jesus found. He’s been looking for it for what appears to be a long time. Once he knows it’s within his grasp, he’s not going to just give up, either.

I won’t give away any more of the plot because why would I do that? It’s a bizarrely beautiful movie, full of flawed characters that just seem to be trapped in their circumstance, and trying to deal. There’s death, life, the beginnings of insanity, and a fair amount of blood. It’s a completely different take on a vampire story, and it’s really hard to believe that it was his FIRST feature film. This being the Criterion edition, they’ve gone back to the source and made it look absolutely gorgeous. It’s also got some really nice extras including del Toro’s first short film, starring himself and his mother, with a math joke at its center that made my nerd heart happy. There’s also a tour of his “man cave”; actually a house all its own, that is simply amazing, and has to be seen to be believed.

In all, if you like suspense/horror movies, and don’t mind subtitles, you should see this movie. If you want to see this movie, you should watch the Criterion edition. It’s really, really good.

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